Courtroom judge plays Santa for special needs kids

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Monday thru Friday, he's Judge Nick Nazaretian, but come December he is Saint Nick.

For the last 20 years, Judge Nick plays Santa for dozens of special needs kids. It's a big change from criminal court. 

"Every day you see a lot of bad aspects of society. We're seeing crimes all week and this is a release all look forward to every year," said Judge Nick.

Sandy Santeiro is Santa's main helper and organizer of this sensory-friendly event. She and her husband, Tampa attorney Jorge Santeiro, along with volunteers made this all possible.

"They get one-on-one time with Santa which is rare. Our Santas are so awesome. I can't say enough about them. I love them so much. They are so patient with the kids," said Santeiro.

Megan Garcia and Alex Febles brought their two kids, 4-year-old A.J.and 2-year-old Rayland to see Santa.

"She lit up when she saw him in the room. They didn't want to leave," said Garcia.

Megan says only the parents of special needs children know the challenges of going to the mall to visit Santa.

"At the mall, although it's beautiful, it's very loud and the lines are very long and for us and our son waiting in line is not always easy," said Garcia.

But here it is easy. This year 170 kids signed up for the event. Every child gets a very special Christmas wish and gets a chance to make holiday crafts.

Mother Sarah Slye teared up watching her son Zachary smile.

"I'm just very appreciative that he has an event he can go to that he enjoys and he can just be himself," said Slye.

 The kids get a magical memory, on their terms.